Project Details

Close up of a calculator, a mobile phone and exercise books

Dr Math

Providing real-time support with mathematics learning.

By Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Project URL:

  • Education
  • Mobile

A 2012 survey by the World Economic Forum did not make pleasant reading in South Africa: the country’s maths and science education was ranked bottom of 62 countries. The reasons for this poor performance are not hard to find: South African teachers, especially in township schools, will have received precious little training themselves, especially in more imaginative techniques and advanced topics.

Dr Math, a mobile-based learning service, aims to fill part of that gap by providing real-time support and assistance with mathematics homework and revision.

Using a popular SMS-based social network, Mxit, students at the University of Pretoria provide maths tutoring to school students across South Africa. The service has had over 28,000 registered users to date, mainly through word-of-mouth “advertising”.

Simple and cost effective, Dr Math uses an existing and familiar service, a social media platform based on SMS and a willing workforce of student volunteers to create an effective low-cost way for children to keep learning while they are out of school. As well as providing live text-based support, the site has a searchable archive of answers to common problems, from Fibonacci numbers to fractals and topics from prime numbers to Pascal's triangle.

Image 'Studying (59/365)' courtesy of Jack Amick

Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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